When you meet a Cloud Nothings fan, the conversation can vary depending heavily on which album they are familiar with, due to the vast differences between their first three albums. Attack on Memory is flooded with patterns of build-to-explode song forms, their self-titled is lighter and upbeat, and Turning On is fuzzy and has a thicker sound. With their fourth album, Here and Nowhere Else, Cloud Nothings have finally settled into a sound that accommodates their varied ideas as a band.
If you are going to start listening to Cloud Nothings, now is the time. Catchy melodies, particularly careless guitar jams, and full throttle noise/chaos all play a part in this album. It only has eight songs, but punk can be short and sweet in a beautiful way. It is hard to find that balance, and I think the transition was made harder by the group starting out as Dylan Baldi’s solo pop-punk experiment. Taking one person writing, performing, and controlling the music then spreading it across a trio of face-melting punks can take a few albums to accomplish successfully. Yet, impressively, Baldi’s lyrical and melodic hook-phrases still reign on Here and Nowhere Else. This is apparent in the album opener, “Now Hear In”, and I think that makes it a strong introduction for the album to represent the trio as a whole. It starts off with a classic shrugged off guitar riff, and layers into a catchy sing-along chorus that will be stuck in your head for days. In the second song of the album, the guitar starts to fray off into it’s own gritty sound and rhythm. The songs progressively show more and more of Cloud Nothings’ spirit throughout the album with smooth and upbeat pacing that will keep you bouncing on the balls of your feet.
The tracks are well planned out on Here and Nowhere Else. The album is consistent and balanced in a way which helps to avoid a monotonous sound and each song reinstates your attention. As you get to the second part of the album, the band starts to let loose with the use of dissonance and raspy yelling. Especially in “Pattern Walks”, where the song completely deteriorates in the middle, then builds back into an unexpectedly beautiful dream-like anthem. The final track on the album, “I’m Not Part of Me”, concludes the album perfectly. “It starts right now, that’s the way that I was before/But I can’t be caught how I was those days anymore/I’m learning how to be here and nowhere else/How to focus on what I can do myself”. I take this as Baldi concluding that this is the beginning on an established Cloud Nothings, similar to before but growing to being what is it now. “I’m not telling you all I’m going through” repeats over, reminding us that there is much to come from these guys.
RIYL: Real Estate, Titus Andronicus, Perfect Pussy
Highlights: “Now Hear In”, “Pattern Walks”, “I’m Not Part of Me”